Ethanol

New Study Finds That Even the Good Kind of Ethanol is Terrible

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The United States has spent much of the last 30 years subsidizing ethanol production under the pretense that it's more environmentally friendly than gasoline. I say "pretense" because for years it's been completely obvious that corn ethanol is actually worse for the environment, that the overall production cycle stokes global warming even more than typical fuel, and that, in addition, it drives up world food prices, contributing to global hunger problems in the process. Also, it makes your gasoline less efficient. And yet this is something that we've repeatedly mandated and paid for. 

A new form of biofuel, cellosic ethanol, which relies on the detritus from the corn farming and production process, was supposed to fix some of these problems. It doesn't. A new study funded by the federal government and published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that cellosic biofuels actually release more greenhouse gases than regular gasoline during an initial five-year timeframe. Via the Associated Press (AP):

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

The good news: The $1.01 per-gallon cellulosic biofuel credit expired at the end of December, 2013.

The bad news: The last time that happened, at the end of 2012, it was reinstated retroactively a little while later.

The predictable news: A tax extenders bill that includes a cellulosic biofuel credit just passed the Senate Finance Committee. Prior to the vote, Finance Committee members voted to stop an amendment that would have eliminated the biofuel and renewables tax credits included in the bill. 

Lots more from Reason on the madness of ethanol subsidies here.

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  1. What’s the good kind? Unsubsidized?

    1. and Untaxed. It’s called moonshine in many parts.

      1. Take yur breath away.

  2. the overall production cycle stokes global warming even more than typical fuel

    So, not at all as far as anyone can tell?

  3. A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government

    Ouch.

  4. …”corn ethanol is actually worse for the environment, that the overall production cycle stokes global warming even more than typical fuel, and that, in addition, it drives up world food prices, contributing to global hunger problems in the process. Also, it makes your gasoline less efficient. And yet this is something that we’ve repeatedly mandated and paid for.”

    A PERFECT government program! Beats O-care by at least, oh, 5%.

    1. “..but other than that Mrs. Lincoln, don’t you think it was a good performance?”

    2. Beats O-care by at least, oh, 5% 8%.

  5. Obviously the Big Corn subsidies are bullshit all around. The Kochs have conspicuously come out against them on principle (which is why reason has the imprimatur to do the same, presumably), but the Kochs and libertarians in general don’t acknowledge that far more valuable is the giant de facto subsidy all polluting energy industries get, i.e., the allowance to pollute with impunity. Nothing from the laissez-faire market-worship playbook can solve such externalities, which is why most of you are reduced to the sick, sad intellectual bankruptcy of denying that such pollution even exists.

    1. Wow! Tony can make up fantasies!
      Imagine that.

    2. Use the doll to show us where the Kochtopus touched you.

    3. “Tony|4.21.14 @ 4:48PM|#

      Obviously the Big Corn subsidies are bullshit all around. “

      I think you probably meant, “the ag subsidies were bullshit enough before the democrats and their green-energy boondoggle cronies got mixed into it and made shit even worse by creating “Alternatives!” far more energy-inefficient and polluting than the awful KOCHTOPUS fossil fuels you hiss and seethe about.

      Which is funny, because given the chance to acknowledge this…? He goes, “BIG OILS IS TEH EVILS!!” which is exactly the dumbass line used to sell this horrible shit called mandated Ethanol.

      Its called “irony”.

    4. the allowance to pollute with impunity

      Tell me more about this allowance to pollute with impunity.

      http://www.epa.gov

      Also, distinguish cap and trade from an allowance to pollute with impunity.

    5. Nothing from the laissez-faire market-worship playbook can solve such externalities, which is why most of you are reduced to the sick, sad intellectual bankruptcy of denying that such pollution even exists.

      I do not believe I have ever seen anyone here claim that pollution didn’t exist. I (and, I imagine, others) contend that something like carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, given that it is natural and is (to our knowledge) the foundation of life on our planet. One would think that, after visiting this site for so long, you might actually have some grasp of what your ideological differs (betters?) believe, Tony.

      1. Water is also foundational to life as we know it.

        That means there’s no such thing as too much water, right?

    6. My favorite part of this is that it rips the “Top. Men.” theory to shreds. Progressives have argued for a long time that everything would be fine if they were able to implement their ideas. Yet the alternative the top progressive men gave us is worse than what they were trying to replace. Efficiency was lost rather than gained. Pollution was increased rather than decreased. So why should anyone listen to them?

      Chicago has worse gun crime than anywhere else in the country yet the strictest gun laws in the country.

      Unemployment is high where taxes are high.

      Maybe everyone should just stop listening to progressives because progressives don’t know what the hell they’re doing. This is what happens when you legislate based on feelings.

    7. you have not tried too hard to find a free market solution to pollution. Try some of the podcasts from freedomainradio.com maybe you can be converted from your evil immoral state.

  6. I thought this was going to be some sort of teetotaler screed. You and I have different ideas of what constitutes good ethanol.

  7. the overall production cycle stokes global warming even more

    Want to prove this is happening at all first?

  8. The good kind of ethanol…you mean the kind I drink? Lol.

  9. I guess you mean that ethanol causes even more “global warming” heat that magically defies the laws of thermodynamics and somehow hides on the bottom of the ocean, where it is also somehow undetectable?

    Arbitrary appreciation of food prices? YES.

    More “global warming”? Stop appeasing the jerk-off left, they don’t have a rational leg to stand on.

  10. What about the Sorosopussy?

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